In Jeremiah 33 we have the future judgment of Judah (1-5) and restoration of all Israel (6-13); we have a prophecy of Jesus (14-16), and the permanence of God’s covenant with the Jews (17-25).
Jeremiah 33:3 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible;
Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV) “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
The LORD challenged Jeremiah, and us, to call to Him. If we sincerely pray, He will show us great and mighty things which we do not know – in Jeremiah’s case it was things about the future.
Bible Knowledge Commentary, “God challenged the prophet to call to Him for understanding. God promised to answer by revealing great and unsearchable things. The word for “unsearchable” (beṣūrôṯ) means something that is made inaccessible by fortifying it or enclosing it. It is used to describe heavily fortified cities (cf. Num. 13:28; Deuteronomy 3:5; 28:52; Ezekiel 21:20). God’s plans for the future are inaccessible to ordinary people. Only God can unlock the secrets of the future, and He offered this knowledge to Jeremiah. God would share with Jeremiah ‘things’ the prophet did not know or understand about Israel’s future.”
It was revealed to Jeremiah that God would judge Judah – severely, but He would also restore Israel – completely. This would bring unparalleled joy to Jerusalem, leading to the “sacrifice of praise” (Jeremiah 33:11; Hebrews 13:15).
Jeremiah next writes about the day, the age, when Israel will finally receive Jesus as their Messiah. This happens midway through the Tribulation Period, will carry on into the Millennial Kingdom, and then into heaven forever and ever.
Jesus is my favorite “Branch” of Government, He is that Branch of Righteousness (Jeremiah 33:15; Isaiah 11:1). Jesus is the LORD our Righteousness (Jeremiah 33:16) who redeemed us on the cross of Calvary:
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV) “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Romans 3:21–22a (NKJV) “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.”
God would honor the covenant He made with Abraham and David, something Jeremiah highlights in verses 17-25, and summarized in the following verses:
Jeremiah 33:19–22 (NKJV) “And the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, 20 ‘Thus says the LORD: ‘If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that there will not be day and night in their season, 21 then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levites, the priests, My ministers. 22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.’’”
In Jeremiah 34 the prophet brings a word to King Zedekiah and to the people of Judah who reformed for a season, but then went back to their old ways.
The Babylonians would judge the city and capture the king. Jeremiah informed him that he would live, but we read the awful suffering that King Zedekiah had to experience because of his sin and unwillingness to yield to the word of God through Jeremiah:
2 Kings 25:7 (NLT) “They made Zedekiah watch as they slaughtered his sons. Then they gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon.”
The Babylonians attacked Jerusalem in three different sieges. In what was probably the second siege, certain citizens of Jerusalem turned from their evil ways, they no doubt reasoned that if they were “good,” God would have mercy upon them…so they let their Jewish slaves go free. This is what God had commanded them to do in His Word (Exodus 21:2; Deuteronomy 15:12). But then, when the Babylonians returned to their land and the imminent danger seemed to subside, they turned around and profaned God’s name, they once again brought their slaves back to bondage.
Jeremiah pronounced judgment upon these people:
Jeremiah 34:17 (NKJV) “Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘You have not obeyed Me in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother and every one to his neighbor. Behold, I proclaim liberty to you,’ says the LORD ‘to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine! And I will deliver you to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth.”
The Lord promised them, Babylon would be used to judge these hypocritical people, God would bring the Chaldeans back to Jerusalem (Jeremiah 34:22) and those who had returned to their vomit (their old wicked ways) would die.
Another warning to me, to us, He’s a holy God, and His Word should ALWAYS be obeyed, not just in what we perceive to be the “dangerous” days.
1 Timothy 4:1-16
Paul begins chapter 4 with some heartbreaking prophecies that Timothy needed to be aware of as a pastor – that some would depart from the faith, listening to the lies of Lucifer and all of his demons.
What a terrible place to be when one’s conscience is seared and they have absolutely no conviction. The pendulum swings to extremes. It can range from hedonism all the way to asceticism, where they forbade Christians to marry. My heart goes out to the nuns and priests of the Catholic church, the whole concept of celibacy has no Biblical merit whatsoever – what a tragedy this has turned out to be.
“Commanding to abstain from foods…” Paul mentions the self-imposed dietary prohibitions in the book of Colossians as well (Colossians 2:21), “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle…” That’s not Christianity! I like what Sandy Adams said, “These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.”
We need to be so careful.
Paul tells Timothy to instruct the brethren in these things and if he did, he would be fulfilling his call to protect the flock from bondage – it would be good for the flock and even nourishing to him – it’s good doctrine we are to CAREFULLY follow (1 Timothy 4:6).
We are to exercise ourselves towards godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). The Greek word translated exercise is “gymnazo” from where we derive our English word “gymnasium.” It’s there we train, we do those spiritual calisthenics, work hard, and discipline ourselves to be godly – to be like Jesus. Physical exercise has its benefits, but it pales infinitely in comparison to the benefits of exercising spiritually; this life is temporal, a vapor, in comparison to the next life which is eternal.
Now, that doesn’t give us a green light to abuse our bodies. Listen to the wisdom of Warren Wiersbe, “Certainly we ought to care for our bodies, and exercise is a part of that care. Our bodies are God’s temples, to be used for His glory (1 Corinthians 6:19–20), and His tools for His service (Romans 12:1–2). But bodily exercise benefits us only during this life; godly exercise is profitable now and for eternity. Paul did not ask Timothy to choose between the two; I think God expects us to practice both. A healthy body can be used of God, but we must major on holiness.”
Paul simply wants his son in the faith, his protégé Timothy to grow. This was a faithful saying in the early church, it was worthy of all acceptance, and this is what Paul labored in and suffered for – it was all about the living God, the Savior of the world. Paul calls Timothy to teach these things to the people.
In the culture of that day Timothy was considered young, but that didn’t stop Paul from calling him to be an example – TO THE CHRISTIANS – in word, conduct, love, passion, faith, and purity.
Timothy was charged to be in the Word, to read it, challenge others with it, to make sure they were strong doctrinally. Timothy was not to neglect the gift he’d been given when they prayed and prophesied over him. We read something similar in:
2 Timothy 1:6, (NKJV) “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”
I wonder how many ministers fall short because they’re not stirring up that gift? I must always search my heart!
Timothy was to meditate on these things, he was to read it over and over and over again. His progress was to be evident to all! He was to take heed to the truth, for his salvation and the salvation of others, would be impacted – not that our salvation is dependent upon people, but it is certainly influenced by the faithfulness of pastors.
Psalm 89 was written during days of Israel’s defeat (Psalm 89:38-45). The Psalm begins in faith but sadly goes on to question God’s faithfulness (we’ll see that in tomorrow’s text).
The Psalmist reminded God of His covenant with David, but the Psalmist misinterpreted it to be a line that would be fulfilled through human kings, when in all reality, it would be fulfilled in the King of kings, the Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s commendable to read Ethan’s heart to sing of the mercies of the LORD – forever (Psalm 89:1) and how he would use his mouth, not only to sing, but to preach on God’s faithfulness.
Ethan acknowledged that there was no one like the LORD – and I’m blessed with the way he acknowledges that only God is able to rule over the raging sea – over the waves when they rise (did you think of Jesus when you read Psalm 89:9? See Matthew 8:24-27).
Ethan acknowledged – it’s all God’s, made by Him, there’s none like Him, the Maker of the north and the south, the heavens and the earth!
Ethan was upbeat and personified even the mountains rejoicing (Tabor and Hermon) at God’s creation.
Let’s do the same, let’s rejoice today – in creation and redemption – for no matter what the circumstances my be, God is faithful, He will keep His promises, fulfill His Word, and work all things together for good.
Proverbs 25:23 (NKJV) “The north wind brings forth rain, and a backbiting tongue an angry countenance.”
You can feel and even see the effects of the wind blowing in those clouds that will produce rain. So the “southern” winds of Satan – things like slander and gossip bring forth an angry face. Or, as the NLT puts it:
Proverbs 25:23 (NLT) “As surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger!”
It’s not just a Proverb for information, it’s a Proverb for transformation – praying that God convicts us and helps us NOT to gossip!
Proverbs 25:24 (NKJV) “It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”
We have the exact same words – verbatim – in Proverbs 21:9, no doubt repeated for emphasis!
A word to women? Don’t be contentious!
A warning to men? Be careful who you marry – and make sure to tend to your wife!
Charles Bridges, “It cannot be but a miserable thing to behold that yet they are of necessity compelled to live together, which yet cannot be in quiet together. But many bring this bitter trouble on themselves. They never seek God’s help in their momentous choice. The wife is not asked for from the Lord, and so does not come from Him, and so does not bring any of His favors with her.”
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.